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kojax
 Post subject: Zeppelins: Misunderstood Sky Tanks  |  Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:02 am
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
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kojax
 Post subject: Re: Zeppelins: Misunderstood Sky Tanks  |  Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:06 am
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 For the sake of discussion, the question is: would it be worth the trouble to try and resurrect this technology, or would the technical obstacles and basic impracticality be so overwhelming that the gain ends up being overshadowed by all the costs. What I see in zeppelins primarily is an invincible extraction vehicle. Say you've got a chopper pilot down deep within enemy territory, surrounded on all sides by hostiles. Why not send a rescue vehicle that's virtually impossible to shoot down to get him/her?The down side is that there may exist ways to defeat them that haven't been thought of yet, by which a low tech enemy could still bring them down. They're almost totally impervious to small arms fire, but all it takes is some creative weapons designer to come up with one munition that defeats them, and the whole project, including any investments into engineering ... etc.... becomes a total waste.
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Zeppelins: Misunderstood Sky Tanks  |  Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:32 am

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Location: Iowa

 I see slow speeds as the critical point of failure. Even with super fast propellors, a jet could still wipe them out with essentially zero need for chase. Even if the bullets dont destroy the craft itself, they could easily decimate the pilot compartment and any materials or people being transported. Im no expert, but I definitely feel that WWI technology would be easily wiped out by even 1960s technology, let alone that which is available to us today in 2012.Perhaps I am dismissing it too quickly, though? _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan
marnixR
 Post subject: Re: Zeppelins: Misunderstood Sky Tanks  |  Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:09 pm

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:35 pm
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Location: Cardiff, Wales

 i too see slowness as a major issuethat, and the fact that it is quite visible on a radar screentherefore, any attack just needs visual clues, can approach quite closely and is able to outmanoeuvre without too much challenge to its own survivalif you want to make things a bit more challenging from the point of view of the attacker, you could always aim for the gondola, and its destruction would make the integrity of the balloon immaterial _________________"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)"Someone is WRONG on the internet" (xkcd)
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Zeppelins: Misunderstood Sky Tanks  |  Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:46 am

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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm
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Location: Iowa

 I realize I could challenge the "virutually indestructible" comment, too. Just shoot some sort of incendiary device towards it... Hydrogen likes to react with flames. _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan
Ophiolite
 Post subject: Re: Zeppelins: Misunderstood Sky Tanks  |  Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:42 am
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Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:00 pm
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 It would seem a more suitable use might be in logistical support, moving large quantities of materiel to locations clos to, but not at, the front line.
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Zeppelins: Misunderstood Sky Tanks  |  Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:58 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
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 marnixR wrote:i too see slowness as a major issuethat, and the fact that it is quite visible on a radar screenYeah. It would be nearly useless against an enemy that had radar. But insurgents in a place like Afghanistan don't have radar. Quote:therefore, any attack just needs visual clues, can approach quite closely and is able to outmanoeuvre without too much challenge to its own survivalThe problem is actually hitting it with a rocket. At any reasonable height, an unguided rocket would be overwhelmingly likely to miss. A guided rocket would have very little to lock onto, since a zeppelin puts off such a small heat signature compared with a plane or helicopter. Prior to engaging the enemy it could circle around to position itself upwind and attack from that direction, so as not to need to be running its engines. Also, if it's not a rigid zeppelin, a lot of rockets trigger their detonation by the force of the impact, and a soft outer balloon may prevent them from experiencing that impact so they don't even blow up. Quote:if you want to make things a bit more challenging from the point of view of the attacker, you could always aim for the gondola, and its destruction would make the integrity of the balloon immaterialHow much armor do you think we could put on that gondola? Since weight has no effect on fuel consumption, the only limiting factor is how big a balloon -to - gondola size ratio do you want? iNow wrote:I realize I could challenge the "virutually indestructible" comment, too. Just shoot some sort of incendiary device towards it... Hydrogen likes to react with flames. This is an interesting problem. I see only two solutions. 1) - Use Helium instead of Hydrogen. However, this carries the problem that Helium is very expensive, so it might simply cost too much to have people shooting holes in the canopy and causing it to leak out. 2) - Build a balloon within a balloon. The inner balloon is filled with Hydrogen. The outer balloon is filled with an inert gas like Nitrogen. The outer buffer should prevent oxygen from reaching the Hydrogen in sufficient quantities for combustion to take place. It doesn't matter how hot the Hydrogen gets if it has nothing to react with.
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Zeppelins: Misunderstood Sky Tanks  |  Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:10 am

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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm
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Location: Iowa

 Couldn't one get past that by puncturing the first layer with a standard projectile, then once it had leaked a bit you use the incendiary after? _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan
marnixR
 Post subject: Re: Zeppelins: Misunderstood Sky Tanks  |  Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:07 am

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:35 pm
Posts: 4882
Location: Cardiff, Wales

 let's assume for argument's sake that current weaponry is not ideal for attacking zeppelinshow hard do you think it would be to develop more appropriate weapons - like the equivalent of an armour-piercing shell for tanks ? or rip-claws ? _________________"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)"Someone is WRONG on the internet" (xkcd)
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Zeppelins: Misunderstood Sky Tanks  |  Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:16 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
Posts: 582

 iNow wrote:Couldn't one get past that by puncturing the first layer with a standard projectile, then once it had leaked a bit you use the incendiary after?Except you're forgetting that the air pressure inside the balloon is only slightly greater than the air outside. Punching a hole in it causes it just to seep very slowly out. You'd have to either wait a long time or punch quite a lot of holes to get enough of the gas in the outer layer to leak out so that oxygen could get past it in meaningful quantities. marnixR wrote:let's assume for argument's sake that current weaponry is not ideal for attacking zeppelinshow hard do you think it would be to develop more appropriate weapons - like the equivalent of an armour-piercing shell for tanks ? or rip-claws ?The one real possibility I can think of would be explosives that go off inside the blimp to temporarily increase the pressure of the air in there to something higher than ambient pressure, so the gas would be forced to expand outward through the holes you're ripping in the balloon. If using hydrogen, perhaps it could contain a chemical that might mix with the hydrogen. Like, maybe a canister that contains lots of oxygen for the hydrogen to react with. If Helium is used instead of hydrogen, then Helium is very non-reactive. It would be hard to come up with a chemical that could make it do much. However the main problem for a weapon like this still remains: how do you target it? Any kind of canister or bomb would have to be delivered somehow. Rockets are usually heat guided. Radar guided ones are possible but I think that would be expensive. Unguided weapons face the problem that the blimp is likely to attack from a reasonably high altitude. They are capable of altitudes higher than intuitively one might expect. Insurgents can't really afford to use stationary fortifications, like a big AA flak cannon battery, because we'd blow it to bits the moment we saw it. That's also why they can't use radar. The moment they turn on the array, we'd see it lock in on it (remember radar isn't passive - it has to emit a signal to work). Their only option for shooting down aircraft is hand held weapons.
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